"THE EARLIEST EUROPEAN ACCOUNT OF HINDUISM IN SOUTHERN INDIA"
ROGERIUS, Abraham. De open-deure tot het verborgen heydendom ofte Waerachtigh vertoogh van het leven ende zeden; mitsgaders de religie, ende gods-dienst der Bramines, op de cust Chormandel, ende de landen daar ontrent.
Leiden, Franciscus Hackius, 1651. 4to. With engraved title-page showing 7 different scenes around the title itself, with manuscript notations referring to the related pages, and a few woodcut headpieces and decorated initials. Contemporary vellum.
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First edition (the only early edition in the original Dutch) of "the earliest European account of Hinduism in Southern India" (Landwehr), written by Abraham Rogerius (ca. 1609-1649), a minister in the Dutch Reformed Church who was sent to Coromandel, Dutch India, by the Dutch East India Company (VOC), to minister to the Christians of Pulicat. He made a sincere effort to understand the fundamental ideas of Hinduism, often denounced by the Europeans as superstitious and abhorrent.
Rogerius educated himself about the Hindu customs and beliefs with the aid of two Brahmans, who were not supposed to the reveal the Hindu Mysteries, but nonetheless instructed Rogerius in the Sanskrit classics. He returned to the Netherlands in 1647 and died in 1649. The collected materials were put together by his widow, edited by the Socinian theologian Andreas Wissewatius and published in 1651 by Franciscus Hackius. The presswork is unusually good, showing the (sixteenth-century) types very nicely. German and French translations appeared in 1663 and 1670 respectively. An English translation appeared in the collection The ceremonies and religious customs of the various nations of the known world translated from the French.
The title-page slightly thumbed, and minor damp-stains in the inner margins of the last 15 leaves, otherwise a very good copy.